The Sopranos creator reveals the truth behind infamous ending
Closure at last!
Since it aired for the first time over 14 years ago, what really happened at the ambiguous end of The Sopranos’ final episode, “Made in America”, has been one of television’s greatest mysteries. Audiences never got to see the fate of James Gandolfini’s Tony Soprano, the show’s violent, complex anti-hero, and now we know why.
The New Jersey mobster is seated at a diner eating onion rings with his family when the series finale ends with an abrupt cut to black, one that has inspired great debate among Sopranos fans, though many have taken this to signify the death of the mafioso protagonist. During an interview for the 2019 book The Sopranos Sessions, David Chase referenced the moment as a “death scene”. When his co-author Matt Zoller Seitz pointed this out, he replied: “Fuck you guys.”
Speaking on the Hollywood Reporter’s Awards Chatter podcast, the showrunner demurred about whether his statement had been “a slip of the tongue”, before confirming that it was not. “No,” said David of the 2007 episode, explaining that he had originally planned an alternate ending that also featured Tony’s death. “Because the scene I had in my mind was not that scene. Nor did I think of cutting to black. I had a scene in which Tony comes back from a meeting in New York in his car. At the beginning of every show, he came from New York into New Jersey, and the last scene could be him coming from New Jersey back into New York for a meeting at which he was going to be killed.” At last, closure!
David went on to reveal the original inspiration for the eventual ending: “I think I had this notion — I was driving on Ocean Park Boulevard near the airport and I saw a little restaurant. It was kind of like a shack that served breakfast. And for some reason I thought, ‘Tony should get it in a place like that.’ Why? I don’t know. That was, like, two years before." Well, it tracks. In another excerpt from The Sopranos Sessions, David told his co-authors: “[The point was] that he could have been whacked in the diner. We all could be whacked in a diner. That was the point of the scene.”